Violet's fantasy features Disney-like characters from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (including Violet herself as Snow White), Bambi (1942) and Robin Hood (1973). The animated characters resembled the Disney characters but were obviously drawn differently for legal reasons.
This was Dolly Parton's film debut. In preparation for her role as Doralee Rhodes, she not only committed to memory her own part, but the parts of every other actor in the film. Apparently, the 2 other and more experienced co-stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda burst out laughing when Dolly Parton let on that she believed that pictures were filmed in the chronological order of a film's script.
Reportedly, Dolly Parton was cast in this movie because Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin felt that she would "bring them the West". Parton was both a lead actress and singer in this film and sang the title '9 to 5' song which got Oscar nominated. In an interview with Isaac Mizrahi, Parton states that when she wrote and performed the theme song to Tomlin and Fonda, she used her long acrylic nails to create the beat to the song.
The movie spurred a reasonably successful sitcom television series Nine to Five (1982) which went for eighty-five episodes and aired between 1982 and 1988. The first three seasons were broadcast on ABC between spring 1982 and fall 1983, while the second and final season aired in syndication between 1986 and 1988. Dolly Parton's younger sister Rachel Dennison played Parton's role Doralee Rhodes in the series.
The nickname, the girls gave to their horrible boss, Franklin M. Hart Jr. (Dabney Coleman was a "sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot". The phrase now lends itself to being the edition title of a DVD release of the film being called the "Sexist Egotistical Lying Hypocritical Bigot Edition".
To prepare for her role as Judy Bernly, a middle-aged divorcée entering the workforce, actress Jane Fonda interviewed a number of women who had entered the labor market late in life due to being widowed or divorced. Fonda took from this an element for her character, that of being over-dressed on her first day. Fonda wore an over-frilly over-prim very dowdy conservative wardrobe with over-sized glasses, elaborate hats and an over-done hair-style.
In the approximate middle of the film, Dolly Parton and her colleagues sent an over curious secretary to the Aspen Language Center in Colorado to learn French. This very same particular TWA 747 shown in this film, later was used in reality on the ill-fated flight of TWA 800, which exploded off of Long Island, New York, on Wednesday, July 17th, 1996.
Lily Tomlin originally turned down the role of Violet because she was working on The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981). She eventually relented and had production on her film shut down so that she could work on this film.
The name of the company was "Consolidated Industries". Most of the picture is interiors of its workplace and this was filmed on Sound Stage 6 at 20th Century-Fox studios in Hollywood. A two-level set that cost around $1 million was constructed to feature interiors of two floors of a then modern office complex.
The three main characters' first names were based closely on their real first names. Jane Fonda's role was Judy Bernly, Dolly Parton's role was Doralee Rhodes and Lily Tomlin's role was Violet Newstead.
A $150 ticket charity retro premiere of this movie was held in 2003 to benefit the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (GCAPP) which was founded by the film's top-billed star Jane Fonda. When asked which was their favorite scene from the movie, the film's three female stars agreed that it was tying horrible boss Dabney Coleman up in the SM-like rig.
In 2009 a musical version of "9 to 5" opened on Broadway on Friday, April 30th 2009. The opening cast included Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty, and Marc Kudisch. "9 to 5: The Musical" closed on Sunday, September 6th, 2009, after 148 performances and 24 previews.